Making More of Michael By Dan Carpenter, The Indianapolis Star December 15, 2004 Of the many raps against Michael Moore, the least supportable has to be hatred of Americans. Yet that canard surfaced again last week in a column by a prominent conservative. How many of Moore's movies, if any, this expert had seen was not made clear. Many Moore critics proudly declare they've never seen one and never will fatten the fat man's purse by actually finding out for themselves what the talk radio fuss is about. But they know they speak of the devil, and they crowed in the early hours and days after Nov. 2 that this bulbous Beelzebub, along with his various companion imps that had infested our fighting forces and faith-based families, had been exorcised. Their icy realization that Moore will get only larger and louder is bringing out the rakes and pitchforks among those to whom his is the bewhiskered face of the Democratic Party. As echoed in my own reader mail, top-tier conservatives have made a prime post-election target of Moore. Recently, Republican big shots took out a full-page ad in USA Today as a preemptive strike against an Academy Award nomination for "Fahrenheit 9/11." Though the film is the first documentary to be nominated for a People's Choice best-overall award, which is about as mainstream as it gets, a rightwing talk show star warned that an Oscar bid would trigger a "backlash" against Hollywood by middle America. So where is this middle America, this lunch-pail land of the loyal and the left behind? I suspect Moore's syndicated and televised detractors rarely venture there. I am there by necessity and I deeply appreciate that he is there by choice. Hate Americans? No one who has open-mindedly watched Moore's three major films would utter such a slur. In "Fahrenheit 9/11," he took his unblinking camera down to the depths of struggling, screwed-over America, to the seedy strip malls where Marine recruiters trolled for young males without job prospects and to the living room of a family robbed of a son by elective war. In "Bowling for Columbine," he rode the company bus with a single mom to a crummy night job at a Dick Clark restaurant, then chased down the famous namesake on her behalf. Grandstanding? Sure. The guy is ham on wry. But who else takes so many of us to the dark places where the spirit of Jacob Riis dwells? It wasn't even overtly polemical, the Michael Moore scene that's stuck tightest to my memory. It took place in "Roger and Me," his pranksterish take on industrial flight from his native Flint, Mich. A jobless young woman was being evicted, and she was screaming invective at the presiding sheriff as she threw her belongings into garbage bags. She and the sad lawman alike were battling on after the worst defeat a failed economy can inflict: the loss of dignity. It could have been a Jerry Springer moment -- common people acting ignorant, which we surely can do, as Moore rightly chides us. The difference here was, I didn't want to slap the people; I wanted to slap every General Motors shareholder. That's what Michael Moore does for us, and that is what redeems all the excesses that so bother even some liberals (who actually watch). He hates exploiters, he hates imperialists, he hates politicians and pundits who wrap their agenda in the flag. But by the evidence of his works, he does not hate Americans. Those who despise him should take a closer look, at his films or in the mirror. Meanwhile, remember: He's loving this. firstname.lastname@example.org I am sure Dan would be pleased to receive an e-mail containing your comments about his enlightening article.